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University of Minnesota Extension

Dairy processing plant closures in Rochester

Key findings

  • Jobs: The loss of 200 dairy processing jobs will affect an estimated 650 jobs in Dodge, Fillmore, Olmsted, and Wabasha Counties.
    • Agricultural production and processing firms are important to the region, accounting for 5.5 percent of all jobs. 
  • Community: Workers at Main Street businesses — restaurants, grocery stores, and general merchandise retailers — will see their jobs affected as processing plant workers have less disposable income to spend in the community.
  • Supply chain: Businesses supplying the processing plants will also be affected, particularly dairy producers, feed mills, and trucking firms.
  • Economy: Decline in economic output of an estimated $267.3 million in the four-county region.
    • Includes an estimated $38.2 million of lost labor income.

About this economic emergency report

Two dairy processing plants in Rochester recently announced plans to shut down production lines. In November 2019, Associated Milk Producers, Incorporated (AMPI) informed employees it would cease operations of its cheese processing line. At that time, the AMPI plant employed 75 workers. In January 2020, Kemps also announced it would close its fluid milk and dairy products line. The Kemps plant employed 125 workers.

In total, 200 dairy processing plant jobs will be lost from the closures. The two lines, while owned by two different firms, are located in the same building.

Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. asked Extension to prepare an economic emergency analysis of the situation. The study area includes Dodge, Fillmore, Olmsted, and Wabasha Counties.

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Brigid Tuck, senior economic impact analyst; Jennifer Hawkins, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2020

Page survey

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